On October 26, thousands of K-12 educators, counselors, technology specialists, librarians and more will engage in a national “Day of Action” to urge Congress to fully fund the flexible block grant (Title IV, Part A) recently authorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The block grant is designed to ensure that high needs districts have access to programs that foster safe and healthy students, provide students with a well-rounded education, and increase the effective use of technology in our nation’s schools. Title IV A received far lower FY17 funding marks from the Senate ($1 billion) and House ($300 million) Appropriations Committees than its $1.65 billion ESSA authorized level, raising the prospect that many districts will be unable to provide meaningful programming aligned with the clear intentions of ESSA’s authors.
This national “Day of Action” was initiated by the Title IV, Part A Coalition, an alliance comprised of more than 75 national organizations working together to advocate for maximum funding of the flexible block grant.
Under Title IVA, nearly every school district in the country would receive a yearly allocation of dollars that they could expend to: increase student access to STEM, computer science and accelerated learning courses; provide mental health services to students; address drug and violence prevention and provide training on trauma-informed practices; provide physical and health education programs and more instruction in the arts, music, and foreign languages; provide college and career counseling; fund effective school library programs; and provide educators with technology professional development opportunities and students with access to technology and digital materials.
“This national “Day of Action” around the Title IV block grant is critical because without an adequate investment from Congress this year, many school districts will be unable to fund numerous programmatic priorities, “ said Jon Bernstein, Co-Chair of the Title IV, A Coalition and Legislative Counsel for the International Society for Technology in Education. “On October 26, we hope that all educators, administrators and K-12 officials will call, write, or send a tweet to their member of Congress with this simple but powerful message: fully fund Title IV, A so that our districts can make meaningful investments in programs that advance education.”
“The SSAEG program is the result of Congress’ decision to consolidate more than 20 programs under No Child Left Behind into a single formula-funded flexible block grant program that allows districts to choose where best to spend their SSAEG dollars,” says Jodi Peterson of the National Science Teachers Association. “We need to see robust funding in the first year of funding for ESSA Title IV, A to work effectively to ensure that all low-income schools have the funding available to improve conditions for learning and help students receive a well-rounded education.”